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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5102/wreck-the-bakeries/

Wreck the Bakeries

May 26, 2006 by

A nice piece by our own Robert Bradley, author of the splendid Energy: The Master Resource. ”

Little has changed in the 75 years since Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset wrote, “In disturbances caused by scarcity of food, the mob goes in search of bread, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the bakeries.”

Revised for the crisis du jour, that sentence would read, “Whenever the price of oil jumps, the first thing the people’s congressmen do is demonize and punish Big Oil.”


Jim May 27, 2006 at 7:58 am

The correct government response would be to end restrictions of entry into the oil industry and stop all regulations of the oil market. That would be the best way to “punish” the oil industry and benefit the consumer. Instead, government interventionism increases cost of entry to the point where great ideas on addressing the oil shortage never get a chance in the market. Once again, government causes that problems that require supposed governmental actions. Sounds more like bureacratic job security than anything else.

Chaney (with an a not an e) May 27, 2006 at 10:15 am

Pointing out unpopular economic truths is not going to get a dude a babe magnet. Women like to hear a guy experss a socialist, collectivist disdain for the haves and claim, no matter how distant, a herritage with the have-nots!

…Then jump in your 06 4 Runner (that you finnanced) and go to an overpriced bar & grill downtown and pay with plastic. Latter, after drinking $4.00-a bottle imports, you’ll get some play on a leather couch in a $955 a month town house. all this of course beyond your means as a just-outa-college bachelor.

chaney May 27, 2006 at 10:26 am

Have no fear of gas prices this summer. perhaps the fed-gov will save us all. That is, if they pander to the Midwest Ethanol lobby and dump even more subsadies into Biodiesel (which can’t be used in the winter in cold climates) and Ethanol from Corn (not the most eficient method of distilling the stuff)

Oh and don’t worry, we’ll probably “shelter” the corn-fuel industry by keeping out that nasty imported Brazillian stuff! Why it’s made efficiently from sugar cane (also grown in Cuba and Louisiana).

Curt Howland May 27, 2006 at 3:46 pm

I listened to “Martin Van Buren: What Greatness Really Means” again recently. As Jim said above, that is exactly what happened and a so-called “depression” was traversed nationally with more success and vigor than most “good times”.

averros May 27, 2006 at 7:54 pm

Pointing out unpopular economic truths is not going to get a dude a babe magnet.

Oh, but being conspiciously unafraid to stand against the collectivist sheepie can attract a real woman of quality, someone who can love without reservations and kill in defense of those she loves; and would consider unthinkably beneath her dignity to drag the man she’ve choosen before judge if the love cools with time. A woman you can trust, no matter what lies ahead.

Babe magnets attract babes. Frankly, I’d sooner go for a rubber doll than for a typical “babe”.

Closet Anarchist in the Military May 27, 2006 at 11:51 pm

Hahahaha! *falls out of chair laughing at Averros*

Now listen to this! My words were those of me a year ago. Since then, I dare say I’ve found such a woman. She asked me last july on a coffee date “which would you rather: a state that can tax you without limit or one that did not tax you; but had absolute power over you?” Naturally I said either of the two would have to also be the other as well, and they equally sucked.
…we’re getting married in september

Artisan May 28, 2006 at 3:56 am

Congratulations Closet anarchist in the Military. At last a good word about the ladies at Mises! I’m surprised I never read the argument before, amidst all those “sexual equality in government” discussions that the reason why women don’t go so much into politics is precisely because they are (instinctively) smarter than men. I’d say I’ve seen lots of women smarter than their husband (but then, again, I’m not sure I’m completely objective on this… )!

scooter May 28, 2006 at 1:25 pm

I get tired of all the “women are really stronger and smarter than men” hubbub. It seems in every situational comedy today, the man is the idiot of the family, whereas the women really “knows what’s best”.

Curt Howland May 28, 2006 at 2:04 pm

One problem of “women in politics” is that politics is the use of coercion to achieve desired goals. (or at least imagined goals)

A male fights. Some more than others, some more ruthlessly, but fighting is far more a part of being mail than female. It’s biological division of labor.

Instinctively, by the time the men are defeated and it’s time for the female to fight, the female will be ready to fight as dirty as possible in order to kill. “What country would lose a war before they would use nuclear weapons?” The “last stand” attitude.

The woman is also the nurturer. The one who will do something “for your own good”. And has been quoted here often, “The tyrant’s averace may become slaked, the police state occasionally sleep, but the [mother] state will labor unceasingly, for they labor with the full agreement of their conscience.” [paraphrased from memory]

Because of these two things, having women stay out of politics is a GREAT idea! Some of the most horrific enemies of Liberty, from Mayor Hammer of San Jose, California, to Hillary Rodham the carpetbagger senator, are women.

If given a choice, I would prefer no one be in politics at all. My votes “No!” haven’t seemed to have much effect though.

Peter May 29, 2006 at 7:20 am

Echoes of Rudyard Kipling.

billwald May 29, 2006 at 11:15 am

Wrecking bakeries is a cultural phenomenon, not a economic phenomenon. Compare the Watts riots to the recent immigration demonstrations. The people who burned their own neighborhoods 40 years ago have made little economic progress. The Hispanics will do just fine if they can stay peaceful.

Brett Celinski May 29, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Too bad politics is inherently feminine. Which is why the tough-guy rhetoric of all ‘statesmen’ is always impotent. Fighting is masculine, however, and coupling that with womanly planning (to make others fight for them) leads to disaster. Bush and all neocons are feminists at heart, hah!

TokyoTom May 30, 2006 at 5:57 am

Mr. Bradley, I agree with your position in principle, but there’s just one small matter you’ve skated past way too quickly for me – namely, that the real source of the energy problem, for which politicians everywhere (including Bush and most Republicans) are predictibly clambering for the wrong solution, is OIL STATISM right here at home, and not the oil statism that appears abroad (after all, prices are established by supply and deman, not individual supplier countries).

Big oil, other energy interests and the Republicans are in bed together like never before, as you very well know from your long invovement in and study of the industry, right up to your days as Director of Public Policy Analysis at Enron under Kenneth Lay. These energy interests trade the costs of inefficient regulation and the price of bankrolling politicians (mainly Republicans these days) for a number of benefits, such as below market royalties, tax breaks and “implicit and explicit government subsidies for carbon fuels and for products and services that use carbon fuels intensively” (to quote your recent book).

In other words, for a meaningful policy prescription that we can implement at home, wothout having to take over foreign countrie one-by-one (are you really advocating such a ridiculous task as our energy policy?), take these words and apply them to the US:

“Today’s petroleum problem is not a shortage of energy resources but a surplus of government. Oil is not the problem, government control of oil is. America is not “addicted” to oil [, but is ...]are addicted to socialism and nationalism, by which problem-solving entrepreneurship is hampered or criminalized.

The solution is not to stop using petroleum — a physically impossible, economically ruinous response. The solution is to start the educational and political reform needed to promote capitalist institutions in the [US].

A capitalistic transformation would assign private property titles to the subsoil. Such a privatization will promote greater supply and efficiency, and will demote politicians who are the enemies of oil consumers the world over. Ordinary citizens, having become royalty owners, will be the ones to obtain wealth as oil and gas is found and produced.”

To your credit, you do say that “that our government can lead the world through example, ending energy subsidies across the board and privatizing public resource holdings.” I am with you on that, as long as resources are auctioned off fairly to firms that have sufficient capital and insurance to handle potential environmental claims – it would be very effective in providing a way to avoid the rent-seeking that both energy and environmental interests now engage in. (Actually, I like the idea of putting the resources to national corporations whose fully trasferrable shares are then distributed pro rata to all Americans, rather than leaving the revenues to the government.) We should also streamline our environmental regulations – we could achieve better results at lower costs by allowing flexibility.

Finally, I note you’ve neatly shifted blame for high prices away from this Amdinistration and others at home. High global prices are due to our own reckless foreign policy (bulk of increases coming with our invasion of Iraq and saber-rattling towards Iran), and are earning us no friends abroad. Domestic prices are also affected by Katrina and Wilma, and inflexibility in siting and refining regulations.

But let me guess – the Institute for Energy Research is a little reluctant to bite the hand that feeds it?



M E Hoffer May 30, 2006 at 10:05 am


Re: your post, in homage to the current playoffs, 3 points!~

TokyoTom May 30, 2006 at 10:50 pm

MEH, thanks for the points (although I’m more into footbal and baseball metaphors).

Let me pile on a bit be adding these comments, which I also sent to Robert Bradley by email:

“In addition, let me say that to the extent that government policy is responsible for the run-up in oil prices, the industry should not be surprised at when politicians call for a sharing of the rents via windfall profits taxes. The industry got into bed with the government, and if it doesn’t like the marriage, it should call it off – it would be doing itself and the American people a favor. Those politicians thick with the energy industry are there for a reason – personal and partisan gain – and really are not concerned for the long-term welfare of either the industry or the common weal, so industry shills should not be surprised when politicians turn on them as a matter of convenience.

The corrupt, ruinous Repeublicans are a particularly bad lot, as John Baden recently noted: http://www.free-eco.org/articleDisplay.php?id=488.”



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